My OE - Ireland                                           
JUNE 2003
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Limerick / North Kerry
Lough Gur
Birr Castle Demesne
Knightsbridge Bar
Musical Pub Crawl

Sat 7-Jun 03	Swords (Co. Dublin) - Adare (Co. Limerick)

By some amazing fluke Jason had both Saturday and Sunday as scheduled days off this week!  Therefore, first thing this morning we picked up a rental car (again) and headed towards County Limerick / North County Kerry for the weekend - No real plans, but just wanted to cover this region that we hadn't been to yet, before looking towards the North-West in future trips away.  Not a lot to see, but we just wanted to be thorough!

We headed straight through Limerick City and followed the Shannon Estuary (through Askeaton, Foynes etc) and into Northern Kerry near Tarbert - where a ferry heads across to Killimer in Co. Clare.  We followed the scenic coastal drive out to Ballybunnion, the Mouth of Shannon and Ballyheigue Bay, eventually arriving at Tralee at the top of the Dingle Peninsula.  Not stunning scenery, but some pretty beaches and lush green countryside anyway.  

Askeaton Abbey, Co. Limerick

Askeaton Castle

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

Banna Strand, Co. Kerry

Next we headed back along the N21 inland towards Adare (Co. Limerick).  Had a look around the famous Adare thatched cottages (craft shops etc), the park and shops in the information centre.  We couldn't decide whether or not to stay here for the night or what to do for the rest of the day - was about 5:30pm.  Decided eventually to head on for now towards Lough Gur even though the Information Centre closes at 6pm.

After getting a little lost we eventually made it to Lough Gur - A very picturesque Lough/lake surrounded by very green countryside, and baby cygnets!  Decided to head back to Adare for the night after all, and head back to Lough Gur again in the morning and do some walks around the area (see tomorrow for photos - grouped them all together).   Stayed at Abbey Villa B&B in Adare .

Weather forecast on radio this evening:  "Sunny with clouds and some rain expected!"  If that's not Irish I don't know what is.  What they really meant is "We haven't got a clue what the weather is going to do, your guess is as good as ours".

Cottages in Adare, Co. Limerick


Sun 8-Jun 03	Adare (Co. Limerick) - Swords (Co. Dublin) 

After a tasty breakfast at the B&B, headed back to Lough Gur for more of a look around.  Definitely a very pretty place.  Went for a wander up a hill overlooking the lough while waiting for the interpretive centre to open - took lots of photos!.  Started to rain a bit!  The interpretive centre consisted of a small museum and a rather cheesy video/slideshow, but interesting enough - about all the ancient remains etc around the lough and region.

Left Lough Gur and tried to find a couple of the ancient ring forts in the area that we had seen on the video - saw one in the distance but on private land.  Visited Grange Stone Circle (largest in Ireland) and then headed back through Limerick City and on towards Birr to visit Birr Castle Demesne.  

Lough Gur, Co. Limerick

Grange Stone Circle, Co. Limerick

Miscellaneous Tower House, near Grange, Co. Limerick

At Birr Castle had a look around the Demesne (Domain) gardens, complete with lakes and streams etc, before seeing a rather lame falconry display - the one at the Slane Medieval Festival was much better.  A really nice place for strolling around anyway.

Jason had a quick look around the Science Museum (in the old stable buildings) before heading east back to Dublin/Swords.  Later in evening when returning the rental car Jason met Precious McKenzie (famous weightlifter from New Zealand) who was here for the Special Olympics.

Birr Castle, Co. Offaly

Rosse Telescope, Birr Castle Demesne

Gardens, Birr Castle Demesne

'Inis Dara' on the lake shore, Birr Castle Demesne


Waterfall in The Fernery & The Millennium Gardens (c. 1935, not 2000!), Birr Castle Demesne

Fri 13-Jun 03	Swords (Co. Dublin)

Friday the 13th!  We have been in Ireland for four months now!

Sat 14-Jun 03	Swords and Dublin

Headed into Swords Village and took some photos of Swords Round Tower and Swords Castle before then heading into Dublin City Centre. 

Round Tower at St. Columba's Church, Swords, Co. Dublin

Constable's Tower, Swords Castle

After a bit of shopping and dinner, headed to the Knightbridge Bar (at the Arlington Hotel ) in Dublin for some traditional Irish music and dancing - very good although the dancing didn't last long enough really (there about 2 hours, dancing about 1/2 an hour).  


Traditional Irish Dancing, Knightsbridge Bar,
Arlington Hotel, Dublin

Next we went along to the Musical Pub Crawl in Temple Bar, Dublin (i.e. just across the river from where we were).  Followed two musicians around three pubs (reserved especially for the tour - Started at Oliver St. John Gogarty's, then the Ha'penny Bridge Inn, and finally 'Isaldor's Tower'), drinking Guinness and being entertained with music, singing and of course comedy while also learning something about the history of Irish music.  Very good - highly recommended.  

Musical Pub Crawl, Dublin
(Larry Shaw on Fiddle, Joe Brennan on Guitar and Vocals)

Rest of June - nothing much, just working hard!   


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